Utility Tips

What should go down the toilet?

When you flush your toilet, it's contents travel through a maze of pipes and pumps before reaching the Madison Chatham Joint Meeting, our sewage treatment plant, in Chatham Borough. Along the way, there are areas in which objects, which should not be flushed, can cause blockages, and result in back ups. 

Check out this informational video by NYC Environmental Protection, which helps better understand what should be flushed, and what should be trashed. 

If you have any questions as to if it should be flushed, or trashed, check out these simple tips:


The Four P's

FLUSH ’em! Poop, pee, puke, and toilet paper are the ONLY things to flush down the toilet


Wet Wipes & Personal Hygiene Products 

TRASH ’em, even if they’re “flushable." This includes dental floss


Cooking Grease

TRASH it. Let it cool, then put it in a sealed container and throw it away.

Why does it matter?

Wet wipes—yes, even the ones that say “flushable,” dental floss, condoms, feminine products, paper towels (and all the other stuff) that you flush down your toilet enters our sewer system and mixes with the grease that you have poured down your sink. This mix of personal hygiene products and grease can create “fatbergs” in our sewers. 

Fatbergs...what are those?

fatberg_South West Water/APThe word “fatberg” combines the words “fat” and “iceberg” to describe the masses of congealed grease and personal hygiene products that have been found lingering in sewers around the world.


Check out massive fatbergs that were removed in London and Detriot.

Photo credit: South West Water/AP

But the package says "flushable"

When a product is labeled “flushable” it generally means that it will clear your toilet bowl. It does not mean it will definitely clear your pipes or break down in the sewer system or at a wastewater treatment plant. Water and wastewater utilities around the world have found a significant increase of wipes in their sewer pipes and at their plants.

Truly flushable items are ones that: break into small pieces quickly, are not buoyant, and only contain materials which will readily degrade in a range of natural environments (like paper, not plastic).

If you want to know more, watch this clip from Adam Ruins Everything.


Leaky Toilets

Did you know that a single leaking toilet can waste over 1 gallon of water a minute, resulting in 17,000 cubic feet of water per quarter? A loss of that much water can result in a resident paying over $500.00 per quarter for lost water. 

Signs of a Leaky Toilet

  • Toilet water keeps running;
  • Toilet runs intermittently;
  • Toilet runs for a longer than usual amount of time;
  • You hear noises from the toilet when it’s not in use;
  • Your water bill is higher than normal

Generally, your toilet should only make noise when it’s in use after flushed. If you hear a noise at other times, it’s likely that a part is broken and needs to be replaced. The leaky toilet could be caused by one of the following:

  • Flapper or ball could be worn out;
  • Seat under the flapper could be damaged;
  • Damaged gasket under the flush valve;
  • Crack in the overflow tube;
  • Refill valve needs a new seat or washer

vectorstock_18794578How to Test for a Leaky Toilet

  1. Get something that will color the water like food coloring, coffee, or powdered drink mix.
  2. Add enough to the toilet tank to give the water a deep color.
  3. Don’t use the toilet for at least 30 minutes.
  4. If after 30 minutes you see dyed water in the toilet bowl, your toilet is leaking and likely needs to be replaced. 

If you have a leaky toilet and your toilet is older, consider replacing it with a more efficient toilet that uses less water, saving you money over time.